Randy Orton is one of the most decorated WWE superstars of all time. He is a 14-time World Champion, he has main evented WrestleMania twice, has won the Royal Rumble, was the youngest World Champion of all time, and has been a focal point of WWE television (when not injured) for over a decade.
He’s also gone viral, as “RKOs out of nowhere” trended worldwide when amateur GIF makers across the globe filled the Internet with videos of Orton giving his signature move to anyone and everyone who has ever been filmed falling down. And it is very likely that at the end of his career Randy Orton will be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame.
He also has his share of critics.
Wrestling dirt sheets bury Orton as a bully with anger management issues, which is not unlike the character he plays on TV. Other critics of Orton state that he has underperformed in his time on WWE programming, believing him to have coasted on sheer talent, but never having really cashed in fully on his abilities.
There are also numerous rumors, myths and much speculation regarding harassment of co-workers backstage, his dishonorable discharge from the marines, and burying co-workers to management that fuel his critics.
Orton has a long list of accomplishments and a long list of offences, so it’s tough to know how history will treat him once his career is over.
When DVDs are made of Orton’s career the WWE will point to all that Randy Orton accomplished inside of the ring, and probably want you to forget all about the 15 things on this list.
15. He was Discharged From the Military/Fired From “The Marine”
Randy Orton once went out of his way to get fired from the Marines, and then the Marines went out of their way to get Randy Orton fired from The Marine, a WWE movie he was set to star in..
When Orton was 19 he joined the Marine Corps, and reports are he did very well in his initial training. Once actually becoming a Marine though Orton seemed to quickly realize it was not the life he wanted. Indications are that Orton attempted to get himself discharged from the Marines by going AWOL for more than 85 days but they initially just asked him to return to work when he turned himself in, a request Orton declined. He never was charged with going AWOL, but he did get a dishonorable discharge for refusing an order and would serve over a month in military prison.
What makes the story even more fun is that the WWE would later want to cast Orton in the lead role of their latest movie in The Marine franchise, but some actual Marines who served with Orton took real offence to this. WWE was forced to remove Orton from the film and issued an apology for having originally cast him in the role considering his receiving a dishonorable discharge.
14. He Publicly Berated Kofi Kingston on RAW
There are few other examples that exist in the world of professional wrestling where someone broke down the fourth wall in the middle of a match (Vince Russo booked matches aside) just to bury someone who they, evidently, don’t enjoy working with.
In 2009, when Orton was the leader of “Legacy”, he was involved in a feud with Kofi Kingston. This was by far the most high profile feud to date for Kingston, who was a mid-carder at the time while Orton was a main event guy.
The two were having a match on Raw and right after Orton gave Kofi the RKO he starts yelling “Stupid!” over and over again at Kofi Kingston. Orton was mad at either a botched ending to the match, or the culmination of a few perceived botches by Kofi during the match, and just decided to publicly let everyone know what he really thinks of Kofi, not as a wrestler but the real guy as a performer.
Kofi Kingston sat low on the card for many years after this, although he would find a few chances to shine in Royal Rumbles, finding innovative way to not get eliminated.
In the last year however, Kofi (along with Big E and Xavier Woods) has hit new heights with “The New Day”- possibly because Orton has been out with injuries throughout the trio’s entire existence.
13. He Made Derogatory Comments About Kelly Kelly
Critics of Randy Orton will state that his character really shouldn’t talk as much as he does and that his promos are pretty boring. A strong argument can be made that Randy Orton the performer should probably not talk too much either, and definitely not publicly.
In 2011, Orton found himself on an Arizona area radio show, where he decided to air a lot of dirt about the people he works with in WWE.
Most of his comments on the show were harmless jabs at other wrestlers, but then he opted to set his sights on the loveable Kelly Kelly. Orton decided to let the listeners of the show know that he believed Kelly had probably slept with about 10 or so members of the WWE roster.
Orton apologized for the comments he made on the show.
12. He Caused $50,000 of Damages to a Hotel Room
By 2007 Randy Orton had been on WWE television for 5 years, had won world titles, main evented pay-per-views and had high profile matches all over the world. He had, presumably, also stayed in a lot of hotels. The vast majority of these hotel-stays occurred without incident, but that was not the case with one hotel while the WWE was on their post-WrestleMania UK tour.
What caused Randy Orton to cause upwards of $50,000 of damages to a European hotel remains unclear, but the WWE sent him home for the remainder of the tour and Orton was forced to pay the hotel for all the damage he caused.
11. He Referred to One of his Fans a “Latino Ms. Piggy”
One of WWE’s charitable causes is their “Be a Star” campaign, which has donated thousands of dollars to community organizations in order to send an anti-bullying message to kids. That’s why there tends to be a bit of a backlash whenever one of WWE’s stars is caught bullying someone.
In 2014 Randy Orton had still not yet become aware that bullying fans, and in this case publicly bullying a fan, is not a good idea. Orton tweeted out a photo of himself and a fan and referred to the fan as a “Latino Ms. Piggy”, noting that he had run into her that day at the gym.
Speculation is that the fan had been harassing Orton’s girlfriend on Twitter, which led to Orton sending out the offending tweet.
Orton was forced to apologize for the comment.
10. He is Constantly Injured
WWE announcers aren’t paid to give an unbiased appraisal of WWE shows or superstars, so don’t expect anyone to bring up how injury-prone Orton is on commentary. If Orton played a legitimate sport however, it would be the biggest narrative of his career.
Randy Orton injured his shoulder shortly after debuting on WWE’s main roster. At the time Orton was clean-cut babyface rookie, but the WWE used the injury as a way to turn him heel.
While legitimately rehabbing from injury, Orton would appear in videos giving updates on his process. The videos made Orton come off as self-centered and arrogant, assuming fans wanted to know every last detail of his recovery. Shortly after arriving back in the WWE Orton was a full-blown bad guy and would join the new faction “Evolution”.
The heat Orton got by being out with injury would stay with him throughout his career. It seems that Orton is consistently out of action: his 2002 shoulder injury, 2005 re-aggravation of the same shoulder injury, 2007 injury from a motorcycle accident, 2011 concussion, 2012 shoulder injury again, and as of this writing Randy Orton has been off of TV since March 2016, again for a shoulder injury.
Randy Orton has spent more time on WWE’s disabled list than most wrestlers ever get to spend on the active roster.
9. His Alleged Harassment of Female Stars
Rochelle Loewen was not in the professional wrestling industry for very long. After working with Randy Orton for a period of time she quickly decided that the wrestling industry is not for her.
In an interview she would give with Voices of Wrestling in 2005 Loewan claimed that Orton snuck into the women’s change room, went into her bag and destroyed all of her belongings. Some unconfirmed reports insinuate that Orton may have been responsible for a type of bag-related hazing that was popular with Sean Waltman during his hey-day of bullying people backstage.
Actress and model Amy Weber, who also left the WWE in 2005, stated after her departure that Randy Orton is a “dirtbag”, and that she left the company because of harassment by male wrestlers.
8. He May Have Gotten Ken Kennedy Fired
Whether or not you count this as a point against Orton is up to you but he mayshare in the blame for Ken Kennedy being fired from WWE.
Kennedy has developed a reputation for being somewhat unsafe to work with in the ring, and evidently Randy Orton was a vocal critic of his. In 2009 after the two worked a match together Orton reportedly dressed Kennedy down about not being safe to work with in front of other wrestlers. Kennedy was fired from WWE a short while later.
While Orton may have played a role in getting Kennedy fired from WWE, Kennedy ended up getting himself fired from TNA recently. Reports are that Kennedy failed a drug test after a TNA show, a drug test, that he had been asked to take after he looked “out of it” during his match with Eric Young. That should pretty much spell the end of Mr. Kennedy wrestling in any major wrestling promotion again.
7. His 2006 Suspension
The WWE is probably not too keen to bring up any of the multiple times that Randy Orton has been suspended from the company, but probably the least offensive one of his suspensions came in 2006. According to an interview he gave to WWE magazine in September of the same year, Orton claimed that he was suspended because someone caught him smoking a joint. You would think that with all the anger management issues that Orton has dealt with over the years that the WWE would welcome Orton undergoing potentially therapeutic treatment, but they ended up suspending him for 60 days as a result.
Orton was forced to issue an apology and a statement that his future behavior will be more suited to the champion he believes himself to be.
While it cannot be confirmed, most wrestling insiders believe that Rob Van Dam probably finds the whole thing to be ridiculous.
6. Generally Underwhelming Performances
Randy Orton is a 14-time World Champion, a number only rivaled by the likes of Ric Flair, John Cena, and Triple H, but when you read his name along with the other 3 it seems he doesn’t belong in that grouping. John Cena, Ric Flair and Triple H will go down as 3 of the most successful names in the history of the wrestling business, but the same can’t be said for Randy Orton.
The reason Orton is in a grouping lower than Cena, Triple H and Ric Flair is because despite having been in the main event for 12 years and holding the World Title 14 times he hasn’t really done anything all too memorable.
He has only main evented WrestleMania twice, at numbers 25 and 30.
His WrestleMania 25 main event loss to Triple H was nothing special, and his WrestleMania 30 main event was supposed to just be against Bautista, but when reaction to that announced match was so poor Daniel Bryan had to be added to it in order to prevent that year’s WrestleMania from being a flop.
Randy Orton: 12 years on top, 14-time World Champion, yet still very little to remember him by.
5. 2012 Suspension
Much like had been in 2006 Randy Orton received his second 60-day suspension from the WWE, this time as a result of a wellness program test violation.
The drug in question that Orton failed the test for was Dianabol, a steroid that is taken orally. He also failed that test for marijuana as well, but test failures for marijuana do not result in suspension.
At the time there are reports that higher-ups in the company were pushing for Orton to be released from the company after the positive steroid test, but ultimately Orton would continue to be a main event guy upon returning to the company.
4. Stole a Fan’s Camera/Almost Gets Arrested
Keep in mind the following story takes place before every single cell phone had a camera on it, and there are some archaic technological contraptions described here.
Orton, along with several other WWE Superstars, were at a bar following a Monday Night Raw show back in September of 2007.
A fan reported that he asked Orton if he could get a picture with him but Orton was not in the mood to deal with the fan’s request. Orton allegedly took the phone, walked up the stairs and threw it back down. When the fan got their camera (which was not attached to a phone) back they claimed the SIM card was missing which contained all the photos the guy took from the show. The cops got involved and a deal was struck up that Orton would give the fan $100 to make up for taking the camera and no charges would be pressed against Orton. The cops ended up having to catch up with Orton, who tried to leave the bar without first giving the guy the money.
3. Was Involved in the Signature Pharmacy Scandal
In 2007 the sports world was rocked by rampant reports that a long list of athletes had been purchasing performance-enhancing drugs from an online supplier.
To nobody’s surprise numerous WWE Superstars were named as customers of Signature Pharmacy, one of them being Randy Orton.
It was hard to blame Orton individually for something that was obviously so widespread in all of athletics, not just wrestling. Major League Baseball was the hardest hit by the reports that came out regarding who had purchased what from the online pharmacy, but pretty much all of sports were forced to wake up to the realities of PEDs after all the info started to come out.
2. Called Wade Barrett a Coward
There was symbolism in this act, as Wade Barrett is reported to have given notice to the WWE and most likely will not continue on with the company for much longer. The act of throwing him out of the ring after taking the biggest beating of any of the League of Nations was WWE’s way of fully blowing the character off.
Barrett has done nothing but lose and make others look good in his last run with the company, and getting beat up by a bunch of legends was almost a way of the WWE saying “goodbye and thanks” to a mid-carder who won’t get much fanfare for his contributions otherwise.
Fellow mid-carder Ryback jokingly mentioned on Twitter that he would be stealing a few of Barrett’s moves.
Orton took another approach however, in a complete 180 from the sentiment that others have had Orton decided to insinuate on his Facebook page that Barrett is a coward, and he doesn’t respect him. I’m sure Barrett is bummed out they won’t get to spend much more time together.
1. Wants to be a Part-Timer
Reports are that Randy Orton wants to wrestle a part-time schedule similar to what Shawn Michaels did when HBK returned from injury in 2002, after not competing for 4 years.
Part-time wrestlers are more numerous these days, with part-time attractions like Brock Lesnar, yearly appearances by The Rock and The Undertaker, and on-again-off-again schedules for guys like Chris Jericho.
What makes this request from Randy Orton frustrating for WWE fans is that Orton is only 36 years old, and has not contributed nearly as much to the wrestling business as guys like Shawn Michaels and The Rock have.
On the other hand a part-time schedule is probably what is best for Orton’s character at this point, as there is not much left for him to do.
Still, to have underwhelmed to the degree that Orton has and to suggest that he may be as valuable as guys like Brock Lesnar, the Rock, and Shawn Michaels comes off as a little arrogant.